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Stop-Motion Sets Put Students on a Roll at The Leo

BFA programEvery once in a while you come across a great project for students to use what they learn in the classroom and apply it in the real world.  One particular project lets BEAU students apply their skills and have them displayed at one of the biggest venues in Salt Lake City, the Leonardo.

Here is the project in the words of BEAU’s very own Anne Benson, Foundations of Art instructor for the Bachelor of Fine Art programs: Entertainment Design, Game Art, Comic Art and Graphic Design.

During the beginning of winter quarter in my model making class, Ryan Law, one of my students, informed me that the Leonardo Museum in SLC was in need of some new stop-motion sets for their Rendering department. He said he worked there and they were ready for a change in their stop-motion sets.

Seeing this as a prime opportunity to not only have a great project for my students, and to have our work displayed in a museum, but also as a great way to let people know about BEAU and what our students can do, I got his boss’s email.  I contacted Meggie Troili and arranged to meet her at the museum the next day.

BFA programsMeggie showed me around her department and what they were hoping to upgrade. One area was for 2D stop-motion stories, while two other areas were for interior and exterior 3D sets. I was saddened/excited about the poor quality of the sets and props they were using. Saddened because most were toys from the thrift store, and excited because I knew we could create something of better quality.

The interior was just scrapbooking papers taped to the black backstage wall. The exterior was a plastic castle that was so tall that the upper stories couldn’t fit in the frame of the camera, making these areas useless for filming. I also knew that we could build a castle that was more usable and fun.

I told Meggie we could definitely create the two 3D sets and that I’d let my other faculty members know about their 2D set needs. Hopefully, the rest of the faculty would also see this as a great opportunity to showcase their students’ work.

During the next class, we talked about the room we’d like to make for the interior space. We agreed that we’d like to give the Leonardo the option of choosing between three rooms. If we made the walls generic enough, we could make furniture that would go in a bedroom, office and living room. Each student made three furniture pieces and I made the walls with a window and a door.

I took these pieces into the Leonardo the week of Feb. 4 and swapped them out from their old stuff. Meggie and her team were very excited for the new additions.

BFA programWe spent two classes constructing the castle out of Styrofoam. Each student had a section of the castle which was inspired by Edinburgh Castle in Scotland. The students painted acetone on the Styrofoam to create bricks (it melts the foam). Then we used a coating made especially for foam called FoamCoat to seal the castle and make it durable and flame-retardant. We plan to finish painting it this week and take it to the Leonardo this Saturday.

According to Ryan, people are really enjoying the interior set with the furniture that we made.